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was frequently but the exterior of probity and the elegance of vice. Having entered the service early, he acquired from military manners only a taste for libertinism and play. His father's hand reached him everywhere, not to raise him, but to crush bim still more under the consequences of his errors. His youth was passed in the state prisons; his passions were rendered more intense by,solitude; his genius was sharpened against the bars of his prison, and his soul lost there the modesty that rarely survives the infamy of those precocious chastisements. Withdrawn from prison to attempt, according to the avowal of his father, a difficult marriage with Mademoiselle de Marignan, a rich heiress of one of the greal houses of Province, he exercised himself like a wrestler in politi. cal stratagems and artifices, on the little theatre of Aix. Cunning, seduction, hardihood, in short, all the resources of his nature were displayed to ensure success. Success he attained ; but scarcely was he married, when fresh persecutions followed bim, and the fortress of Pontaslier opened its gates for his reception. A passion, that the Letters to Sophie have rendered immortal, again opened its gates to him. He carried off Madame de Monnier from her aged spouse. The happy lovers took refuge for a few months in Holland. They were pursued there, separated and imprisoned, the one in a convent, the other under the keys of Vincennes. Love which, like fire in the veins of the earth, always discovers itself in some phase of the destiny of great men, lighted up, in a single and ardent focus, all the passions of Mirabeau. In vengeance, it was outraged love that he satisfied; in liberty, it was love that he rejoined and that he delivered ; in study, it was still love that he illustrated. He entered prison an obscure individual; he quitted it a writer, orator and statesman, but perverted, ready for anything, even to sell himself to purchase fortune and celebrity.
The drama of life was conceived in his head; he only required a scene, and time prepared it for him. In the interval of a few years that elapsed between his exit from the keys of Vincennes to the tribune of the National Assembly, he piled up a number of polemic works that would have wearied any other man, and that only served to keep him in breath. The bank of St. Charles, the institution of Ilolland, the work on Prussia, and the contest with Beaumarchais-his style and his rôle-those grand pleadings on questions of war, the European balance and finances—those biting invectives, those duels of words with the ministers or the popular men of the moment, already smacked of the Roman forum in the days of Claudius and Cicero. One perceived the ancient in controversies of quite a modern nature. It seemed as if the first yells of those popular tumults which were about to burst forth, had become audible, and that his voice was destined to dominate over them. At the first elections of Aix, rejected with contempt by the nobility, he rushed amongst the people, sure of inclining the balance wherever he threw the weight of his genius and boldness. Marseilles disputed with Aix the great plebeian. His two elections, the speeches that he pronounced there, the addresses that he drew up, and the energy that he displayed, occupied the attention of the whole of France. His wide echoing words became the proverbs of the revolution. In comparing himself in his high sounding phraseology to the ancients, he placed himself, in the imagination of the people, on the height of the rôles that he wished to recall. The people became accustomed to confound him with the names that he cited. He made a great noise to prepare the public mind for great commotions; he announced himself proudly to the nation in that sublime apostrophe of his address to the people of Marseilles. " When the last of the Gracchi ex.
pired, he cast dust towards the sky, and from that dust was born Marius ! Marius, less great for having exterminated the Cimbres than for having lowered in Rome the aristocracy of birth.”
On entering the National Assembly, he filled it. The whole people belonged to him alone. His gestures were orders, his motions were coups d'etat. He placed himself on a level with the throne. The nobility felt themselves vanquished by the force which had issued from their own body. The clergy of the people, who wished to replace the democracy in the Church, lent him its force to crush the double aristocracy of the nobility and the bishops. In the course of a few months all the parts had fallen of what it had taken centuries to build up and cement. Mirabeau alone recognised himself in the midst of the wreck. His rôle of tribune ceased, that of statesman hegan. He was still greater in the latter than in the former. When all the worlal felt their way, he hit the mark, and walked straight to his object. The revolution in his head was no longer the fruit of anger; it was a plan. The philosophy of the eighteenth century, moderated by the prudence of politics, flowed in well digested form from his lips. His eloquence, imperative as the law, was now only the talent of giving greater force to reason. His words threw light upon and cleared up everything; almost alone from that moment, he had the courage to remain alone. He braved envy, hatred and murmurs, supported by the consciousness of his superiority. He dismissed with contempt the passions that had followed him until then. He would no more of them from the day when his cause had no longer need of them; he now only spoke to men in the name of his genius. This title sufficed him to be obeyed. The assent that truth finds in the soul constituted his power. He raised himself amongst all parties and above all. All detested him, because he commanded them; and all flattered him, because he could destroy or save them. He gave
himself to none; he negotiated with all. He placed unmoved upon the tumultuous elements of that assembly, the basis of the reformed constitution. Legislativn, finances, diplomacy, war, religion, political economy, the balance of power, he approached and solved all these questions, not as an utopist but as a politician. The solution that he brought to them was always the exact medium between the ideal and the practical. He placed reason within the range of manners and institutions, in conformity with established habits. He wished for a throne to support the democracy; he wished for liberty in the chambers, and the will of the nation one and irresistible in the government. The character of his genius, so often defined and so little understood, was less that of boldness than justice. He had, under the majesty of expression, the infallibility of good sense. Even his vices could not prevail over the clearness and the sincerity of his intellect. At the foot of the tribune he was a man without shame and without virtue ; in the tribune he was an honest man. Abandoned to his private excesses, bargained for by foreign powers, sold to the court to gratify his expensive tastes, he preserved in this shameful traffic of his character, the incorruptibility of his genius ; with all the power of a great man over his age, he wanted but honesty. The people were not a religion with him, bul an instrument; his God was glory; his faith posterity; his conscience was confined to his mind; the fanaticism of his ideas was purely human; the cold materialism of his age took from his soul the motive, the force, and the aim of imperishable things. He died, saying, “envelop me in perfumes and crown me with flowers, to enter into eternal sleep." He belonged wholly to his times; he impressed on his work nothing of the infinite. He consecrated neither his character,
nor his acts, nor his thoughts, with an immortal sign. If he had believed in God, he would in all probability have died a martyr, but he would have left after him the religion of reason and the reign of democracy. Mirabeau, in a word, was the reason of a people; he was not as yet the faith of humanity.
TIE FROST-KING'S RAID.
And scowled on his courtier throag ;
The march, and the battle song.
“ Bring my snow-wreath battle-car!
Then hurra for the Southern war !"
And the tempest-chargers bound,
With the whirlwinds circling 'round.
Over flow'ry hill and dale,
That comes on the charging gale.
Then the conq'rer throws over hill and dale
And reigns in his boisterous glee
On the shores of the tropic sea.
But woe to the ruthless spoiler! when
To strike for her lost domain;
Once more o'er hill and plain.
MOBELL'S HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY.
In our former“ Cursory Remarks” on the first portion of this able book, we had abundant occasion to take note of the want of soul and body which has been the distinguishing characteristic of the past philosophies. We also showed that a philosophy, founded exclusively upon the human consciousness, denied the great fact of the education and educability of the individual and the race, and presupposed that we were in some sort all that we ever could be, and were already in the secret possession of all knowledge and wisdom. For the investigation of consciousness is no other than an examination of that which we know, and which, by the very fact of our knowing it, we have no room to investigate. It is at once the impertinence of dogmatism and the meanness of scepticism conciliated into a single method. Nay, it is the very vanity of vanities, the useless refuge from the present inward truthlessness and outward pauperism of our natural life. The human race finds itself poor in goods and small in power, with a great destiny to fulfil, large responsibilities to meet, and a grand universe to stimulate and shame it. And how does it grapple with its own weakness, and with the strength of nature ? By taking down from its ancestral walls the once divine mirror of philosophy, which was wont to reflect the triple attributes of God, as shining forth ever with growing brightness from the faces of man, nature and revelation ; and by gazing in that mirror at its own face, to the exclusion of all other objects, and of the suggestion of all deeper things. There the philosopher stands before his glass, seeing how he looks, and making faces at himself; and ever as a new mime with a queerer visage comes before the reflector, unwonted countenances are pulled in long drawn series, and eyes opened wider than before, that the whole play of humanity may be at once exhausted and comprehended. But every one knows what he knows, or, in other words, is conscious of his consciousness; his memory also will readily inform him of any great difference in this respect between his past and present estate ; what need then is there to spend ten minutes in taking stock of goods so easily counted. Rather than act the part of the miser, and tell over and over again our few coins of truth in the underground cellars of the mind, it would be better to trade with our talents, or to put them out to interest, so that the increase expected of us may be forthcoming in its time. The making out that the bare enumeration of our present knowledge amounts to the acquisition of new stores, is the very * art and mystery of self-delusion; and only to be paralleled by the case of that hungry metaphysician, who, finding on his table but a small morsel to satisfy the cravings of nature, eat it under a magnifying glass, that he might in this way aggrandize the scraps which a churlish fortune had allowed him.
Let the truth be told; those who have prominently investigated the human consciousness as the oracle of truth, are precisely. those who have hoarded those seeds of great action which man contains, either without the intention, or without the power and skill, to plant them in the earth of the natural universe. We have not the least wish to deny, that the poorest man may be conscious every day of the inward possession of " high capacious powers folded up in” him. But we maintain, that to his reflective consciousness, VOL. XX1,-NO. CIX.
while these faculties are looked at in themselves, they are mere seeds, whose essor, whose natural and spiritual series, can never become known. They require to be planted out in fitting ground, and to be recognised in their fruits. Afterwards the admission may fairly come, that the seed contains more than the full-grown tree; yet the seed, not as related to the consciousness of man, but to the omnipresent action and gifts of the creator. The dignity of the human faculties does not by any means attach to them as bare potencies, capable of good and evil; but as forces running a consistent course of virtue and wisdom.
Hence the consciousness, (there is no such thing as a knowledge of consciousness in the ordinary sense, for consciousness and knowledge are one,) fulfils about the same place in the materials of philosophy, as do seeds in the materials of gardening. Without seeds there would perhaps be no plants, and without consciousness there would be no mind-no voluntary actions, and no humanity; but it would be a puerile mistake to suppose that the knowledge of seeds was the all, or the greater part of horticulture, as it has been a mistake to suppose that a knowledge of consciousness is either the grand material, method, or result of philosophy.In consequence of committing this mistake, the metaphysician has been incessantly studying what might have been, if he had managed the universe, in place of what has been, is,' and shall be, under the direction of a real providence. He runs out his seeds through a small logical curriculum, or in fact grows them in his own imagination; and the arboretum philosophicum—the mineral tree-is handed round some lecture room in a bottle, with this significant label upon it: "How wonderful is man."
In consequence of attending merely to our faculties in their indifference, and not as determined by works, the studies of philosophy have been entirely Darrowed to the intellectual sphere, and even to the passive half of that, for philosophy has become a spectator and a patient, and given up its industrial working functions altogether. This is grievously apparent from the admirable history now before us. The mind has, in fact, been regarded as the means perhaps to some end, but what that end is, it has not concerned the metaphysician to inquire : still less has the mind itself been regarded as a mediate end to an ultimate end. For when the mind is considered simply in its potencies, in its unused means, the object lapses entirely into a study of the intellectual, mediate or mechanical functions, wholly undetermined, and capable of working towards contradictory results. Nay, further, under such conditions, the human faculties cannot ever have the dignity of means, since our knowledge of the appositeness of all means is determined by our knowledge of the ends which the spiritual or natural mechanisın is designed to accomplish. The consequence is, that the potencies of man, whether in their involution, or their evolution, have possessed for philosophy no order and no gradation, excepting, indeed, such a slight reflex of both, as might come from their being called forth to stand up in a row before a brittle, and, as it were, mineral Pedantry.
This, then, brings us at once to the grand lacuna which the History of Philosophy exhibits : the total neglect by metaphysicians of all ages of the springs of human action, of the loves of man, or what is the same thing in another shape, of the ends which are the objects of those loves. Not that the human affections have been altogether unnamed by philosophical writers, but they have been made to proceed from the senses and the understanding, and not recognised as the principles from which all intellect and sensation originate ; of which, intellect and sensation are the ministers and the means. Certain philosophers, indeed, vigorously maintain the freedom of the will, and in this they are right; but then, on their showing, the will is so blank at unity, that it is impossible to see in it any sufficient tendencies to coanec